When a baseball franchise signs a 36-year-old pitcher who has a career record of 33-37 with a 4.70 ERA, it usually doesn’t qualify as making noise in the offseason. But, relatively speaking, this is the second-biggest splash the New York Mets have made since the end of last season.
According to a source privy to the negotiations, the Mets avoided salary arbitration with right-handed knuckleball specialist R.A. Dickey by agreeing to terms on a two-year deal with a club option for a third year. The deal is pending a physical scheduled for Monday.
Dickey, an eight-year MLB veteran, filed an arbitration request to earn $4.7 million during the 2011 season, with the organization countering at $3.35 million, prior to coming to terms.
After being called up from Triple-A Buffalo nearly two months into the 2010 season, Dickey went on to have the best season of his career, posting highs in wins (11), ERA (2.84), strikeouts (104), starts (26), complete games (two), innings pitched (174.1), opponents’ batting average (.251) and WHIP (1.19).
In addition, among Mets starters, Dickey finished first in ERA, tied for second in wins (Johan Santana), and second in quality starts (19).
So, in a brutal New York winter, where the Mets have made non-descriptive transactions such as the signings of catcher Ronny Paulino, second baseman Russ Adams, left fielder Scott Hairston, and pitcher Boof Bonser, Dickey’s return to the starting rotation is one of the team’s best offseason moves to date.
Thus far, the Mets’ top move was agreeing to terms with Mike Pelfrey, the team’s best starting pitcher last season, to a one-year, $3.925 million contract to circumvent the arbitration process.